Archive | September, 2012

What do college coaches look for in a player? (Part 2)

6 Sep

It’s not about the ball

It’s exciting when you know that a college coach is at your game to watch you play.  That means that some of the major recruiting boxes for you have been checked.  It’s likely that the coach has received an email from you, maybe your player profile, and an even a highlight reel.  They’ve concluded that your academic profile matches their school’s criteria and now they want to see more.  They want the answer to that all important question…can this kid really play?

The first thing a college coach is going to notice is your work rate on the field.  It’s customary for coaches to watch a player for one half, before moving on to the next player on their list.  During that half, most of the time the player being watched won’t have the ball at their feet, so the main question on their mind is…how hard does this player work?  Do they make dynamic runs off of the ball and create angles of support for their teammates?  Defensively, after their team loses the ball, do they sprint to get back behind the ball and work to win it back?  Are they willing to defend, even if they are an attacking player?  If the answer is yes to these questions, that’s a big plus for a potential recruit.  If a player appears lazy or not willing to defend, the coach will likely move on.

Closely tied to work rate is a player’s body language on the field.  As Mike Erush, Men’s assistant coach from Loyola Marymount University put it, “the first thing I notice about a player is their body language.”  Coaches want to see how a player deals with the demands of the game.  If the referee makes a bad call, do they throw their hands up in the air in disgust, or do they get on with it?  If a player’s club coach makes a comment from the sideline, do they react in a positive manner and make the adjustment?  There is an old saying that pressure reveals character.  At a tournament like Surf Cup, players are put under tremendous pressure.  The best are there, battling it out against each other.  This is the kind of competition coaches love to see.  It gives them a glimpse of what a player might look like at the collegiate level, competing for their team.  So be ready to bring it at your next tournament…a fierce determination to compete and a positive demeanor throughout the game.

To sum it up, coaches look for a few qualities that are largely within a player’s control.

1)  Work rate.  College coaches want to see how hard you work off of the ball and how much effort you put into your defending.

2)  Positive, body language.  College coaches want players who can handle adversity in a positive manner.

Stay tuned for the final installment of this series, all about what makes a player “special” in the eyes of a college coach.

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